TeenTober Reviews: Going Old-School with Historical Fiction

Posted on Friday, October 15, 2021 by Stellan Harris

TeenTober LogoHello again dear readers and welcome to the second week of our TeenTober book review series! For the uninformed, the Teen Blog will be highlighting some of the reader reviews that we received during our Teen Summer Reading program this year. This week we’ve decided to highlight some of the reviews we got on titles with a historical setting, whether that’s a story from a real period of history or a fantasy with some real historical details. So sit back, relax, and get ready for some books to take you on a journey through time!

The first review this week comes from Caitlin, who gave a 5-star review to “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah. A novel set in the 1930’s Texas before and during the Dust Bowl, this story follows Elsa Martinelli, a girl born into some means but tormented by her family. Determined to follow her heart and make her own destiny, Elsa embarks on a journey that will put her through all of the struggles and turmoil that the Dust Bowl has to offer, which according to Caitlin includes an 11-day dust storm! Speaking of the book, she said it was, “a great book, it is very moving,” and that you should give this title a look if, “You like books that have tension.” If that sounds like you, then consider reading this title. 

Our next review comes from a reviewer who wished to remain anonymous and wanted to give their perspective on “Stone Fox” by John Reynolds Gardiner. This story is set in the 1880’s in Wyoming, following the childhood of a boy and his dog on a poor farm. Unfortunately, as his family experiences hardship and his home comes under threat, Willy has to bet it all on a dog race that might save his family or end in tragedy. The reviewer spoke highly of the book, giving it a 4 star review and saying they enjoyed the book, “because it had an ending I was not expecting.” The book isn’t particularly long, so if you’re looking for a period piece about a boy and his dog that is, according to our reviewer, “Unexpected, short, sad” then “Stone Fox” might be the next book for you. 

Our last review is from Amelia, who went even further back in time, to the Victorian Era, in order to review “The Vanished Bride” by Bella Ellis. Following a mysterious murder in the English county of Yorkshire, 1845, three sisters and daughters of a local parson decide to apply their skills of observation and investigation to be come “lady detectors” and solve the mysterious case. Coincidentally, these sisters are named, and seemingly modeled, after the Bronte sisters, who are themselves famous poets and novelists of the period. As for the novel itself, Amelia enjoyed it enough to give it a 5-star review, saying, “I loved this book because it was a big mystery…I could write down all the clues,think I have an answer, but then there would be a big twist!” Victorian England, a bloody mystery, and three amateur sleuths modeled after real world authors solving a mystery full of twists and turns? What’s not to love? You can find out by checking out more by checking out “The Vanished Bride” for yourself! 

With that we’ve come to the end of our second week of TeenTober book reviews! Thanks again to all the wonderful teens who participated in Summer Reading this year and gave us permission to post their reviews for you all to see. Tune in next week for more reviews and more books that just might be your next favorite.

Check Out Spooky October Programs @ DBRL!

Posted on Wednesday, October 13, 2021 by Stellan Harris

It is the spookiest season of the year again! We at DBRL are big fans of the pumpkin primed, spirit soaked, ghoul guarded time of year, and we’ve got some events and programs lined up for all of our kindred spirits looking forward to this ghastly season. 

On October 18th the library is hosting an atmospheric walking tour of a Columbia cemetery, where you can learn the history of cemeteries, how funeral practices have changed and evolved over the years, and even some spooky stories and superstitions surrounding the cemetery. This event is subject to the weather, but assuming it’s not raining you can come to the library at 5:30 on October 18th for a spooky introduction to the graves of Columbia! If you can’t make it in person, feel free to watch the recording on our YouTube channel a few days after the program so you don’t miss out on all the graveyard fun. Find more information on the page for the event here.

On the following Monday, October 25th, we have a production for you drenched in horror fit for the season. In an ongoing series of productions, DBRL has partnered with local performance artists to bring you an evening of audio entertainment, this time focused on tales of a haunting or Gothic tone. Performing a number of  classic horror tales, including a number of works from Edgar Allen Poe, the performers will bring you an evening of spine-tingling tales that are sure to put you in the Halloween mood. You can register to receive the Zoom link here, or watch the recording of the performance on our YouTube channel a few days after the program (just in time for Halloween proper!). 

On the very next day, Tuesday, October 26th, the library will be hosting a presentation about the ghost-obsessed period of Missouri history and some of the most interesting and noteworthy figures that followed a belief system focused around mediums, Ouija boards, and making contact with what lies beyond the veil of death: Spiritualism. Presented by the Missouri State museum, this presentation about a uniquely spooky time in American history, and the controversial figures who gained fame and fortune during it, will highlight many of the figures and claims made of reaching into the afterlife and communing with spirits, even of some famous figures of the time. Tune in for a spooky trip into the past and a glimpse into a time when the notion of ghosts and spirits wasn’t always something to laugh about. As always you can register for the Zoom link here, or keep an eye on our YouTube channel for the recording of the program. 

And that’s a roundup of some of the programming fit for this Halloween season being brought to you by DBRL. Hopefully you saw something that piqued your interest, and you join us for one of these supernatural-centric programs. Stay tuned here for more information on all things teen at DBRL, and have a happy, haunted October!

TeenTober Reviews: A Bit of Romance to Start Things Off

Posted on Friday, October 8, 2021 by Stellan Harris

TeenTober Logo

Welcome to the first of our TeenTober review posts dear readers! For those of you not in the know, we’re going to be showcasing some of the titles and reviews we got from the teens who participated in the DBRL Teen Summer Reading Program. Our reviews this week focus on some of our reviewers who chose books of the more romantic variety, something that was far from rare in the reviews we received. What can we say, some of you just love a good romance! 

Our first review comes from Isabella, who gave a 5-star review for “My Lady Jane” by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. A period romance, with a bit of fantasy thrown in for color, Isabella described the book as “Mystical, Romantic, and Historic” and enjoyed the novel due to a love of “twisted fairytales and a good love tale.” Isabella does warn that there is some questionable language, but that you should definitely check this bok out if “you like history flips with a pinch of magic, and if you love a good love story.” If that sounds like you, then give “My Lady Jane” a look!

Our next review comes to us from a reviewer who wished to remain anonymous, but one who gave a 5-star review to “Anna K: A Love Story” by Jenny Lee. A modern retelling of the Russian literary classic “Anna Karenina”, this novel is, as Grace puts it, “all about love, and who we are as people. While we may present a certain image to the public, there’s always something going on behind the scenes. This book follows the romances of multiple people, and how all their lives are tied together.” Sounds like quite the book! If you’re looking for a book that is “hopeful, a tear jerker, broken yet beautiful” and ready for a book that will, according to Grace, “give you all the feels,” give “Anna K: A Love Story” a shot!

Finally, our last 5-star review from Olivia takes us from the Manhattan skyline to the winding streets of Tuscany in “Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch. The novel focuses on Lina’s trip to Tuscany, as a last wish from her mother, as she seeks to reunite with her estranged father. Yet, as she discovers a diary kept by her mother when she lived in Italy, the trip becomes something much more for Lina. Jasmine picked up the book after “a friend suggested this book to read and it’s one of the best books I’ve read. It has a great plot and you just can’t put the book down.” So maybe pick up “Love and Gelato” for a book that is, according to Jasmine, “full of love, romance, and mystery” to start your TeenTober off right!

 

And that’s going to conclude our featured reviews for this first week of TeenTober! Come back next week for another batch of reviews from the teens in our Summer Reading program, and keep your eyes peeled for more TeenTober programs and posts.

FAFSA Frenzy 2021

Posted on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 by Stellan Harris

FAFSA FrenzyThe Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the primary application used by all colleges and universities to determine your eligibility for grants, loans, work-study and scholarships. More importantly, this form is mandatory for all those planning to attend college.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education has an assistance program called FAFSA Frenzy to help you and your family successfully complete this online application form. They will be hosting several free events at mid-Missouri high schools. If you are planning to attend college in the fall, mark your calendars now for one of these four sessions.

Get all your financial aid concerns out of the way so you can be all set for the 2022-2023 school year!
Continue reading “FAFSA Frenzy 2021”

Happy TeenTober!

Posted on Friday, October 1, 2021 by Stellan Harris

TeenTober Logo

Happy TeenTober dear readers! TeenTober is a month-long celebration promoted by the Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA) that strives to bring attention to the ways that libraries can better serve their young adult readers with programs and services. Here at DBRL we thought we’d take this month as an opportunity to highlight the contributions the teens in our community make to our library by publishing some of the many book reviews we received from our teen users during Summer Reading. Every Friday we’ll showcase a few of the reviews, and the books that they examine, in an effort to highlight the voices of the teens in our community. Keep an eye on our Events page for other TeenTober programs and festivities, and sign up to our Teen Newsletter to stay up to date with all things YA at DBRL!

Trending: Dark Academia

Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2021 by Dana


Dark academia is an aesthetic and book genre that is blowing up, mostly thanks to TikTok.

Dark academia’s look comes mostly from boarding schools and old universities. Think school uniforms, tweed jackets, stone columns, dark wood, dimly lit libraries with old books and drifting dust.

The books that fall into the dark academia trend could have many aspects of this multifaceted genre. They often take place in a school or university and have menacing themes like crime or secret societies. The characters may study classical philosophy, poetry, or literature. Death, existentialism, and mortality are often subjects. They aren’t usually high fantasy, but often involve arcane knowledge and more speculative elements.

Whether this appeals to your blazer-wearing, coffee-drinking self or your dark, dangerous mystery-loving self, check out the list and give one a try!

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Posted on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 by Stellan Harris

Hispanic Heritage MonthSeptember 15th through October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, an annual celebration of the history and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx communities throughout the history of this country. First introduced as a week-long celebration in 1968, and expanded to a full month in 1989, this celebration of the increasing number of Americans coming from Hispanic and Latino communities was designed to pay tribute to their roles in the history, and future, of this country.

While the date in the middle of September might seem an odd choice, the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month coincides with a number of declarations of independence for a number of Central and South American countries. September 15th is the day of celebration for the independence of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua from Spain, while Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16th and Chile does so on the 18th. 

In honor of this month’s celebrations the Smithsonian will be hosting a number of virtual events to highlight notable Hispanic and Latnix figures in both history and modernity. The calendar of events can be found here, as well as links to the events on the same page. More information, including further event calendars and other resources, can be found on the website for the celebration here.

In addition, we at DBRL have collected a list of novels by Hispanic and Latinx authors for interested teens, so take this opportunity to celebrate this occasion with a great novel! The list of novels can be found here, with some of my favorites being: 

  • Cemetery Boys by Adien Thomas: a supernatural romp starring a Latinx trans boy brujo and a bad boy ghost companion out to solve the mystery of how a loved one’s spirit disappeared and what will need to be done to free it.

  • Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas: a story of a Cuban American teen dealing with the fallout of her parents divorce and the loss of her beloved abuela by striving for excellence in a demanding French kitchen.

  • Lobizona by Romina Garber: a novel, taking inspiration from Argentinian folklore, that follows Manu, a girl who lives in a small Miami apartment with her family in constant fear of being discovered by ICE. After a traumatic experience that separates Manu from her family, she discovers that her origins might not be what she thought, and that her place in the world might be more fantastical than she had suspected.

 

The Selector’s Selections: September 2021

Posted on Tuesday, September 14, 2021 by Brianna

Confession time: if it were up to me, I’d probably end up only writing about fantasy books, because I love them so much. BUT I have managed to divide my love into two fantasies, two historical fictions, and two contemporaries. Be proud of my egalitarian blog writing!

Beasts of Prey” by Ayana Gray

I had to start with the fantasy! Utilizing Pan-African mythology, there is some lush world-building in this jungle-set fantasy. Koffi is an indentured servant at the Night Zoo, home to exotic magical creatures, and dreams of earning her freedom. Ekon hopes to join the elite warrior class, as a Son of the Six in their city of Lkossa. When a fire at the Night Zoo alters both their plans, the pair reluctantly team up to pursue the deadly Shetani—a creature that has been preying on Lkossa for nearly a century. While mistrustful at first, each dangerous encounter in the Greater Jungle leads them to rely on each other more and more. As they uncover secrets about the Shetani, they realize the stakes are much higher than just their own personal quests for redemption and freedom.


Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: September 2021”

Most Popular Books of Summer Reading

Posted on Wednesday, September 8, 2021 by Stellan Harris

We’ve once again come to the end of a wonderful Summer Reading program at the Daniel Boone Regional Library! We’ve gone through the list of teen book reviews that were submitted (over 200 reviews in total!), as well as the titles that moved the most during summer reading to bring you a list of the most popular titles and trends this year. Thanks again to everyone who submitted a review for the great titles you enjoyed!

This summer fantasy was king for many of our readers, exploring far flung locales and mystical places along with valiant heroes and sinister villains. Leigh Bardugo was a favorite of many of our readers, with both her Six of Crows series and The Grisha Trilogy circulating widely among our readers. Sarah J. Maas was another favorite, with her Throne of Glass series and it’s spin-offs having both favorable numbers and favorable reviews from our summer readers. 

For many of our readers who didn’t go the fantasy route, a dystopian setting was their place of choice this summer. Suzanne Collins’ newly released prequel to her Hunger Games trilogy The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes was one of our highest circulated titles, with the original novels not being far behind. Authors Neal Shusterman, Kiera Cass, and Joelle Charbonneau were more favorite painters of painful potentials among our readers, so be sure to check them out if that sounds up your alley. 

 

For more book recommendations, be sure to check out our Popular YA Titles of Summer Reading list, composed of some of our top circulating items and some of the highly reviewed summer reading titles. Your new favorite book might just be waiting for you!

New Teen Resources @ DBRL

Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 by Stellan Harris

Daniel Boone Regional Library is excited to let you know about some new resources available to you as part of your access to our library services! 

Teen Health & Wellness

Teen Health and Wellness is a great resource for teens looking to learn more about their health and how to manage their mental health. With resources for health questions that teens might have, mental health resources to deal with a host of issues that teens might face, and a calm room that includes resources for calming and meditation (including live streams of puppies and kittens!), this is a great resource for any teen to consult when needed. I can personally vouch for the benefits of watching a livestream of puppies and kittens having a good time when things get tough, so do yourself a favor and check out this resource!

Digital Literacy

In our increasingly complex information environment, with misinformation becoming both easier and more widespread than ever. Serving that need, Digital Literacy is a host of articles and resources that seek to increase the digital literacy of teens today. From advice on what looking for employment online, to relationships on the internet, and many other online situations, this resource is a great place to check if you’re concerned about uniquely online situations. While most teens are pretty internet savvy, it’s always good to have a resource to consult for emerging situations that your teen might not have encountered before. 

Financial Literacy

Financial literacy is an incredibly important knowledge base, especially for teens who might just be entering the job market. Yet, for something so important, it’s deceptively hard for the average teen to learn the financial literacy skills they would need to succeed. That’s where this resource comes in! This resource is a collection of articles, advice, and news pieces related to all things financial. From understanding the way the stock market works, and influences our lives, to tools for budgeting and personal finances, to advice for teens interested in entrepreneurship and careers in finance, this resource is a great way to gain skills related to money management for teens who don’t have them already.